Do more with less: Part 3 – Use Data To Close The Feedback Loop Between Sales & Enablement

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Written by
David Levy

In Part-1 of our Sales Enablement Series – Do More With Less – we covered the importance of unifying your playbook across sales and customer success. In Part-2, we covered microlearning. In Part-3, we will cover the different types of metrics enablement and revenue leaders should consider.

What data do you rely on to measure your impact as a sales or enablement leader? And how can different types of data reduce revenue leak and improve sales efficiency? Let’s look at how to use data to close the feedback loop between sales and sales enablement.

In this post, we’ll discuss:

Proactive vs. Reactive Metrics: Is Your Data a Lagging or Leading Indicator?

When looking at sales productivity metrics, they are built on both reactive and proactive data. Both these indicators are important, but the leading indicator is what allows you to take action during the quarter. 

Often, we look at the results of the quarter and analyze what we can do differently going forward. By then, however, it’s too late. Use both categories of indicators for maximum effectiveness of your strategy and enablement plans. For example:

Lagging: A lagging indicator is a metric for measuring your sales effectiveness. It helps you determine the business impact you’ve made. But while this helps you decide how to improve going forward, it is reactive.

  • Quota attainment: a reps total sales in a given period as percentage of their quota in that period
  • Competitive win rates: Total wins divided by total opportunities that involve a specific competitor
  • Churn rates: # of customers in the beginning of the period minus the end of the period, divided by the customers at the beginning of the period. Can also use revenue instead of customers.

Leading: A leading indicator, on the other hand, gives you an early indication of your ongoing performance. It helps you assess the progress you’re making in real-time and is therefore proactive

  • Sales stage progression: are our reps moving their deals through the sales process? Where are they struggling?
  • Common competitors: what competitors are coming up? Sales stage progression for those deals?
  • Most used content: are your reps engaging with your mutual action plan? ROI calculators? Are they asking the right discovery questions? If not, these are coaching moments on sales fundamentals to drive change: why me, why now?

Use these metrics to influence how you train and enable your sellers. For example:

  • Do you have a seller that is missing quota but progressing deals? That is worth investing your time for further sales coaching
  • Is the rep ignoring pipeline creation and also not performing? Speak to them to see where the gaps are, and if nothing changes, it could be time to part ways.

Leverage Deal Risk To Iterate On Enablement

The difference in sales performance between beginning-of-quarter expectations and where you are headed into end-of-quarter becomes sales coaching and sales enablement moments.

We like to evaluate every opportunity through a deal risk lens, with the data captured automatically using software and/or having sales managers use them in their forecast meetings.

  • Next Meeting Not Scheduled - if we do not have a future meeting scheduled for a deal
  • Ghosting 👻 - No prospect attendees at scheduled meeting (prospect did NOT say No in invite, either no response or they hit yes)
  • Single Threaded - only one unique person has attended meetings from the customer side
  • No Decision Maker - Aircover & SFDC do not have any contacts marked as a decision maker
  • Time Kills Deals - Next meeting is scheduled for greater than 1 month out OR it’s been 30 days since the last meeting and no next meeting is scheduled
  • No Customer Stories
  • No Pain Points
  • Objections
  • Competitors

Persona-Driven Sales Data 

Ask yourself: are we better at selling to certain business functions (e.g. finance vs. IT)?

There’s a good chance you have some anecdotal feedback on which functions you are better at selling to, but are you tracking closed sales closed-won performance by business function?

Consider the trickle down effect:

  • The revenue team identifies it is better at selling to the line-of-business (LoB) stakeholders vs. IT → new persona driven content, enablement materials, marketing, etc are now all influenced by this.
  • Same amount of revenue from LoB and IT, but are spending 2x on acquiring IT customers? Your close rate is lower for IT? Reallocate to LoB and/or figure out why IT is so much more expensive and more difficult to sell-into. Is it product features, messaging and positioning, support options, etc.

In a previous life, my company found it excelled at selling to marketing operations, sales operations, and business technology, while proving more difficult to IT. Using the data, we were able to spend time iterating on the messaging to IT and building some table stakes features. With time, they are now doing very well in that market.

By tracking and evaluating this data, sales leaders can improve their strategies and boost sales performance. You can identify gaps, which should guide your future enablement programs.  

Closing Thoughts

To improve sales efficiency, leverage the interconnectedness of data and feedback to drive impactful enablement programs for sales. By using both leading and lagging indicators, deal risk, and while tracking more granular sales data by business function, you can start to influence sales in the current quarter, while setting the strategic direction of where your enablement program should focus going forward.